Cauliflower Korma

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

food painting for the vegetarian cookbook by Fiona Morgan
Creamy. Satisfying. Versatile. Chunky.


Food painting artwork

30 x 30cm impasto acrylic on paper. The paper is no ordinary paper, it is textured Hahnemuhle 300 gsm 100% alpha cellulose which is acid-free fibre of vegetable origin.

This detailed cauliflower was painstakingly painted by hand and is not a flat design. The paint is raised off the surface of the paper (impasto), adding depth and texture especially when seen from an angle.

In India, as part of the pre-wedding preparations, intricate henna designs are painted onto the hands and feet of the bride. There are elements of tradition and auspiciousness associated with the designs, known as mehndi. Having mehndi painted on is meant to signify the transition from virgin to temptress.

This mehndi inspired design has nothing to do with marriage, henna or hands. It does, however, obviously nod to the source of this dish which can be found all over India.  It also celebrates the humble cauliflower being transformed into a dazzling tempting meal.

By the way, all the food painting artwork is available to own in the Official Art Store.


The meatless meals recipe

Korma is found all over India and seems to me to fall into the usual north or south split. The north variation is very savoury, spicy and yoghurty and the south tends to be of the navratan or nine jewels variety involving tomato, dried fruit and a dash of sweetness. After trialling both variations, I didn't want to use either, I wanted a blend of the two. Naturally this was not the easy option. So after a comically eye-crossing day of comparing well over a dozen recipes via a spreadsheet, I was set for testing. And after a few rounds of tweaking, it worked. 

What have we ended up with here? A full flavoured, cashew creamy, slightly sweet, sans out of season tomato, delectable korma delight that has the extra spice lift of the north with the dried fruit sweetness of the south. And it's dead easy to make.

1 teaspoon coriander powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
2 teaspoons garam masala
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon powder
1 large onion
25g fresh ginger
4 cloves garlic
4 tablespoons butter
2 - 2 1/2 cups stock
1/2 cup cream
4 cloves
50g cashews
1/2 cup dried fruit such as raisins or currants or sultanas 
700g cauliflower, cut into florets
150g paneer in cubes or slices of boiled egg or chopped mixed vegetables
pinch chilli powder to taste
salt to taste

Measure out the coriander, turmeric, garam masala, cumin and cinnamon powders into a small bowl and have this ready to go. 
Also get the stock ready to go.
Use a blender to make a paste of the onion, ginger and garlic, adding a splash of water to help with the blending if necessary.
Melt the butter and fry this onion paste until it thickens and/or darkens in colour. If it is beginning to stick it has definitely been fried enough.
Add the bowl of spices and fry for just a minute or two. They will darken, but don't let them blacken. 
Add 2 cups of the stock and stir until smooth.
Add the cream and cloves.
Use a blender (plus a splash of water if needed) to make a paste of the cashews and half the dried fruit. If you don't like munching into sweet dried fruit in your curry, put all of the dried fruit in the blender with the cashews. Do not leave them out as this dish needs that background sweetness.
Add the cashew paste and all the dried fruit, as paste or left whole, to the pot.
Add the cauliflower (and mixed veg).
Simmer gently with the lid on for 30 minutes. Add extra stock while cooking if needed.
(Add the boiled egg slices or paneer and heat through)
Add salt and a pinch or two of chilli powder to taste.

Serves 4-6 with rice.


More vegetarian cookbook goodies

Need help with conversions? Download this handy dandy pdf of cooking conversion charts for every cooking measuring system I could find. It should make your life easier.

Want to check out more vegetarian dinner recipes? They're all in the Table of Contents.

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4 thoughts

  1. Hello! I came to your blog via craftgawker. I love the veggie food/art crossover!

  2. Oh Fi, this is the first one of your recipes I've made...aaahhh bliss! Oh wow! So partner and I savoured each mouthful and groaned in ecstacy!!! Oh fabulous easy delicious food!
    (I added a little chicken and capsicum, used dates for the dried fruit, but otherwise was as per your recipe). And the best? There's leftovers for today!!!

  3. LizCat, I am thrilled to hear your feedback. I test and retest all the recipes until they are as fabulous as I think they can be. So glad to hear this is paying off and you blissfully enjoyed the dish!


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